Tag-Archive for ◊ bett2012 ◊

BETT Radio
Saturday, January 28th, 2012 | Author:

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my children were interviewed by the legend that is Russell Prue while they were at the BETT show. This interview was done without any preparation and they were amazing (as always). I thought I’d share the link, it’s a ten minute long podcast but it makes me smile.

The radio archives are here: http://andertontiger.com/BETTradio/ and the direct link to the mp3 is here: http://andertontiger.com/audio/St-John-BETT2012.mp3

Other BETT goodness aka BETT part 2
Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 | Author:

Firstly, apologies that it has taken so long to write this. The week after BETT is always just as busy as the time when you’re there. Also, I didn’t take a laptop with me due to space constraints in the luggage (Charlie’s straighteners took priority of course).

So it’s been (over) a week since BETT and it feels like a lifetime ago. BETT is different for me than it is for the majority of other people. Most teachers will go and explore the show, look around, see what is new and maybe grab the odd freebie but for me, I go there to meet with people from Twitter and do the odd presentation or two.

Firstly, the Twitter thing. Over the last 3 BETTs I have met so many people from Twitter that this has become a massive highlight for me. If you took away all of the stands and just put us all in a room, we’d happily have the best day ever. There are so many people that I connect with on a daily basis that I see these people as friends, even more so than people I know in the real world sometimes! This sounds weird I know, but I chat to some people a few times a week at least so I do count them among my friends. In fact, the first appointment on the Thursday evening was with Dughall McCormick and we discussed the fact that we had only met in person four or five times before, yet it is always like meeting an old friend.  Many thanks to Matt Pearson for the invite to this event too 🙂

Throughout the show I met many old friends, (well I say that, but mainly they are people I met last year!) and many new ones too. The oddity for me was when someone told me that they followed me on Twitter, said hello and then walked away without me getting the chance to find out their Twitter name in return! There was even one silly (but very lovely) person who accuses me of being a Twitter celebrity, I just reminded her that I’m a normal bloke that tweets too much. And has a very understanding fiancee…

The highlight of Friday morning for me is this weird tradition that I seemed to have started a few years back. In 2010 a few us were at a loose end and had booked cheap hotels without breakfast so we discussed meeting for coffee before the show. This was where I first met Simon Widdowsden (@xannov). THen last year people asked if we were repeating the #BETTbreakfast. It had gained a hashtag so I couldn’t refuse could I? This year we followed the same tradition and all met for breakfast in a pub 10mins from Olympia. This was a great chance to almost meet people like Simon Lewis (more on him later) and Merlin John and to catch up with David Mitchell, Natty (@natty08), Dawn Hallybone, Rob Harrison, Alex Bellars, John Sutton, Gideon Williams and many more. It’s a simple idea, but I love it. Bacon and eggs, plus friends. Wonderful 🙂

I unfortunately had to leave the breakfast early as I had Google business on the Google stand. For those that attended the Google meetup before Christmas, you’ll know if something is provided by Google then you prefix it as such. We had Google wine and got a Google pen. I blame Pete Stuart (@petestuart). So, I headed to Olympia and my first bit of Google business was blagging my way in early without a trade pass (thanks to the person who helped, you know who you are) and then I met with the Google team who needed help unloading the Google boxes from the Google van. Enough of that. I spent two hours on the Google stand sharing Chromebooks and discussing how we use Google Apps in our school. What I loved was that when I started showing one person our apps approach, 4 or 5 others would gather around to watch and listen too. I have never had 2 hours fly by so quickly, it was intense and non-stop. I don’t know how the Google guys did it for 4 days! Talking to them, I don’t think they knew either! (T-shirt count = 1)

I must say that the other highlight for me at BETT is presenting. This sounds big-headed but hey, it’s my blog. Throughout the year through my various silly projects I get an amazing level of support from some incredible people. Sometimes this means discounted or even free software, sometimes they help with sponsorship or an event or sometimes they make badges for me. (This blog post is due later). So I see BETT as a time where I can do a little bit in return. If I can do a presentation about Class PET for Scholastic and have 10 more people come to the stand, then that is a good thing. My first duty was a Teachmeet Takeover for Rising Stars. I was sharing this with Bev Evans and I discussed some free stuff to use in school. We had a crowd of around 20 people and some stuck around after to talk to the team at Rising Stars, which is great. Andrea has supported many things we’ve done so it’s always a pleasure to see her and help whenever I can!

So Friday was the day when (in the words of Bev) I turned into a software/corporate tart. After my TMTakeover I headed to BrainPOP where I swapped tshirts for an hour or so sharing how we use BrainPOP in school. I love the BrainPOP team and any time on their stand is great fun. Charlie spent a lot of her two days on there too in fact. So I swapped t-shirts (tshirt count = 2) and started talking to some people. This is hard because people assume you are trying to sell to them, which I guess in a way, I sort-of am, but I am just trying to share a great product that our children adore.

After a short time with BrainPOP it was the first of a few Class Pet demonstrations for Chris on Scholastic. Chris is another person who has helped me in loads of ways such as taking photos at the first TM Hants right through to being the first sponsor of TM Bett2012.  This is a great product that really helps with assessing maths in the classroom. The children enjoy it and one today even asked me when do they next get to go on there because they love it so much!

I also squeezed in a presentation for 2Simple about how we use Purple Mash (tshirt count = 3) and answered questions too. Out of everything, Purple Mash is the one product that I would (and did) buy and recommend for any primary school. The others I’ve mentioned are great but Mash just about edges them as it covers so much across the whole school. So I will happily discuss it with an audience and present on it whenever I am asked to.

Throughout Friday I kept having this nagging feeling that I wasn’t seeing the BETT show at all. I spent my whole time going between 4 or 5 stands, visiting people I knew, but I was fairly happy. Mainly because I knew Oliver Quinlan was exploring and snapping pictures for us all to look at later!

The evening brought the main event for me, Teachmeet. This was put together even-more-last-minute than last year and yet we felt calmer and more organised. Maybe it’s because Drew, Ian and I had sorted it last time around, maybe it was because we weren’t presenting. That honour went to Miles Berry and Dawn Hallybone.

I’m going to forget people but MASSIVE thanks to Alex Bellars, Phil and Nicky Allman, Sarah Neild, Tim Rylands, Dan Bowen, @natty08, @mrswaite, Pete Stuart, @grumbledook, Dawn Hallybone and the other 10 or so people that helped convert the Apex room from 250 chairs in rows to 25 tables of 10 in 15 minutes. Truly incredible and without you guys, it could have been a bit different!

As we weren’t presenting, we were able to flit about solving minor things and making the evening run smoothly and I know I am biased, but again…I don’t care…I felt that everything about the evening was perfect. There was a mix of primary and secondary (maybe more weighted towards primary, but last year was very secondary focussed) and there were lots of people that had never been to a Teachmeet before and also some that had never presented before! There were even some amazing trainee teachers that stood up and presented too. Kudos to them. They got a standing ovation from Dughall, Tim and Bill Lord. Not bad for your first Teachmeet is it?

One benefit of organising the Teachmeet is the ability to influence it a bit. So as the evening was drawing to a close I asked Dawn and Miles to invite three teachers up to present. These teachers (Claire, Cherise and Julie) have been planning online for weeks yet Cherise hadn’t met the other two until the evening of Teachmeet. They were nervous about presenting and sharing their project and only ‘volunteered’ because I bullied them into it. I know they had been worried all evening so I asked for them to go on last. The thought of building up to presenting and then not being chosen would be a bit too much for them (particularly Cherise!!). So they presented and they were fab. The evening was amazing and I felt very happy with it all. So to Pizza…one downside of having so many different tshirts is that both Charlie and I ended the day with BrainPOP tshirts on so we looked like we had decided to wear matching outfits. Obviously this wasn’t the case!


Overall I thought that BETT was a great experience and I want to thank everyone that I spoke to, shared with and met up with. You guys truly make it a wonderful experience 🙂 Roll on next year!

The most useful BETT blog that I’ve found is this one from Oliver Quinlan

For a round-up of other BETT posts, take a look here.

BETT – Day 1
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 | Author:

This is the first of many BETT posts that I am going to be writing, it’s been such a busy weekend that I’ve only just had time to go through and add photos etc to the blog posts! So, to start with, Day 1. The day we took the children.

I’ve been to BETT a number of times, a few as a trainee teachee and a few as VLE consultant and once last year as a teacher but I had never taken children until this year. I thought it would be great for them to experience the sorts of exciting ICT that could be used and to as a reward for their hard work with the Digital Leader project. If nothing else, I had planned on doing some Teachmeet Takeover-style presentations but in the end we were invited to present on so many different stands that we had to turn some down! I could have accepted them all, but I thought it was important for the children to have time to wander and explore the show as well.

So who to take? The Year 5 boys were obvious choices. They have presented at a headteacher conference and at a local Teachmeet and they have showed that they can ‘blag’ it and present confidently without the need of a script at all. One did make some notes but he didn’t need them. choosing other children was a bit harder because there were so many we could have picked. In the end we were asked by Google to present on their stand so I chose the two girls that had been using Google Sites to make the newsletter FYF.

In the end the plan was to have a TeachKidsmeet Takeover on the Scholastic stand, the girls to present for Google and then I was asked to present on the Brother stand about the use of Digital Leaders in the primary school.

We spent a few weeks preparing presentations although this mainly consisted of them doing it and me checking they were OK every now and again. It wasn’t until the day before that I heard both presentations for the first time. I have faith in my children. What was the worst that could happen??

So, we set off to BETT on the Wednesday and we went with some Digital Leaders from Titchfield Primary as well as their teacher, Charlie, and some other Heads and teachers from local schools. Upon arriving the children were blown away by the sheer size of BETT. I had told them and I had shown them pictures but I don’t think they were prepared for the size of it!

Firstly, I introduced them to the key stands to find in case they got lost such as Scholastic, Google, 2Simple and Brainpop. These were all fairly central and easy to find. They also had bright colours which helped! On the way we of course managed to collect some freebies such as chocolate from Espresso and some badges from Brainpop. I had already discussed the free things at BETT and the children were fantastic throughout the day. They always asked if they could have things and used their manners too. Unlike the MANY teachers who just took things from the show! One memory is of one of my boys waiting patiently to ask a lady on a stand if he could have a chocolate while a teacher from another school (I looked at his badge) came and took a huge handful! While on the Brainpop stand we of course met Moby the robot which set the day off to a great start. We also collected the Digital Leader badges that Brainpop had made especially for us too! We wore them with pride for the rest of the day. In fact, the children haven’t taken them off at all yet!


Before our presentations we managed to have a quick chat with Andrea Carr who sponsored the very first (paper-based) issue of FYF and then we had a play on the Kinect on the Microsoft stand.


In the morning the boys presented on the Scholastic stand. They were on after the Tichfield children who were discussing blogging. We then followed this up by talking about Digital Leaders and our use of free tools such as Animoto.


I tried to take photos not just of the presentation but also of the crowd that gathered. This started small with just 4 or 5 people when Titchfield began but with persuasion, coaxing and the cuteness factor of having children, the crowd grew and grew throughout the half hour we were both on stage.

Not long after we had finished we headed over to the Google stand. Now Google had never been at BETT before so there was a fair bit of excitement surrounding their stage and it was VERY busy. I had made the decision the day before to introduce the children and give a 3-4 minute talk on Google Sites. This would give the children a chance to relax a little and they seemed to benefit from this. One of the last comments I made before handing over to them was on the sheer number of cameras and phones pointing my way. I counted the Google video camera as well as at least 8 cameraphones! Nerve-wracking for any presenter! Check out that crowd!!!


I’ll say this again a few times in this post, but the children were amazing. The girls had never used a Mac before and were a bit thrown when it came to right-clicking or copying and pasting but they managed brilliantly. We were inundated with praise in person and on Twitter throughout the day. I think that they did an amazing job.

After a spot of lunch I thought it would be good to go and see the wonderful Russell Prue and see his radio station. I thought he’d interview us but I didn’t think it would be live. 2 minutes later. The children were (once again) amazing and when asked what they thought of Gove’s speech about ICT, they replied with comments saying that ICT wasn’t boring and was actually quite good fun. They also spoke eloquently about the face we do use and teach Microsoft software but we also use free things like Google, Popplet and Prezi too. The interview was recorded so I will share that once we have the recording.


In the afternoon I presented on the Brother stand about the Digital Leaders and I probably should have got them to share it, but they were happy exploring their new bags and seeing which sweets and goodies they had collected! Our last stop was a quick visit to the Uniservity stand to see Susan Banister and Lara Savory as I knew they had some plant seeds for the children. Whilst there we got a phone call from Charlie saying that Prince Andrew was on his way and we were needed for some handshaking and meeting/greeting! So we ran through Olympia and made our way to the stand to meet the Prince.

He was there to launch some assessment software but I don’t think he had ever seen it before. But hey, the children got to chat to a Prince for 15minutes or so. Although when Charlie asked her children what was their highlight…they said meeting Moby!!


Looking back, I can’t believe just how much we managed to fit into one day! No wonder I felt shattered for the next few days!!! The children were incredible and they have blogged about it here and here.

Teachmeet Takeover Bett2012
Sunday, December 04th, 2011 | Author:

You have probably started to think about your trip to the Bett Show in January. Will you go along looking for new ideas or a great piece of software that you’ve been missing in your school? Or will you be like many of us and go along to share and collaborate with others?

For me, Bett is about talking to like-minded teachers from across the country and being able to share ideas and bounce things around with them. Twitter really comes alive when you meet the people behind the tweets and at Bett2010 I was able to do that when I attended (and presented at) some of the Teachmeet Takeovers that were happening around the Bett Show.

In a nutshell, a takeover is when a teacher goes and presents on a stand about an idea or resource that is nothing to do with the company whose stand they are on. Now, there are some companies that REALLY get this idea and some that don’t. One company asked my why would anyone want to give up their paid-for slot just for some teachers? Luckily, we have some great supporters to help us out. We have created a wiki page and some of the supporters of previous Takeovers such as Scholastic, Rising Stars and BrainPop have already signed up to offer their stands to teachers who want to share ideas.

If you are familiar with the Takeover format and style then you will be pleased to know that we have changed very little. The biggest change is that we are asking for presentations to be 15 minutes in length. Previously they tended to be half hour and this is too much for the audience and attention span at Bett. Also, we didn’t have Takeovers on the Wednesday before as it tends to be quieter but we are giving it a go this year.

To sign-up, click the link below. Then you log-in and add your name into a slot on the table. Remember that slots are 30 minutes so we will ideally like 2 people per slot to fill it up.

So why not sign-up and present for 15 minutes? What have you got to lose?

If you’re not brave enough to present, you can still help. When you go to Bett, attend some of the takeovers and presentations. Be the supportive voice in the crowd or try and encourage others to watch too.

If you have a stand at Bett (or you know someone that does), please edit the document to add your names and contact details! 


And for blog posts on previous Takeovers…try Tom Barrett’s blog here or here or the BrainPop post here.

*Please note, there will be details about the Teachmeet event at Bett soon*